Recently, a friend announced at a club meeting that she was so excited to learn that Charles Chips are still available.
“Did you know that?” she asked, explaining how she had sent a can to her mother as a present.
Yes, I did know that Charles Chips and their signature yellow and brown can were available. That’s the nature of my job. But I’m sure there are plenty of folks who didn’t realize it.
The company was sold from its original owners in 1991, and after that underwent a series of sales and was nearly defunct. New owners purchased it in 2011 with hopes to restore the brand to its former success. You can learn more or order your own can at www.charleschips.com.
Of course, the conversation got me thinking about what other items you might be surprised to learn are still being made. Some of them have limited availability, and it can take a bit of Internet searching to find them. But if you look, you will still find:
• Seven Seas Green Goddess Salad Dressing
Green Goddess — the bright green herb salad dressing — got its start in a San Francisco hotel in the 1920s, and after that was copied from restaurant to restaurant.
However, when Seven Seas began bottling it in the 1970s, it really became part of food Americana. The Seven Seas brand was purchased by Kraft. But the dressing is still bottled as “Seven Seas Green Goddess.” Sometimes it’s easy to find on the grocery store shelf, other times not so much, depending on what your favorite store is stocking. It’s always available through Internet orders; just search for it.
Lots of folks think Tab is gone. It’s not. But it is in limited supply.
Tab was the second diet cola ever marketed in the U.S. Following the success of Royal Crown’s Diet Rite, Coca-Cola came out with Tab in 1963.
It was sweetened with saccharine, before anyone worried that saccharine could be harmful. (Recent studies have shown that is not the case, and saccharine warnings have been removed from products.)
Tab’s popularity was not killed by saccharine worries, however, but by something far greater: the introduction of Diet Coke.
Coca-Cola still makes Tab, and from time to time you can find it on local store shelves, including Acme or Marc’s. When it disappears, you can usually find it online.
• Nestle Aero Bar
This aerated chocolate bar filled with bubbles is as British as it gets. But in the 1980s when Nestle decided to market and sell the bar in the U.S., lots of folks never realized it was an import.
The Aero bar never enjoyed the same success on this side of the pond, and distribution here stopped, but it is still widely available in Great Britain and other parts of Europe. A few U.S. stores still import them, including Akron’s own West Point Market.
• Sen-Sen Breath Freshener
You have to be kind of old to remember these. I haven’t seen them in stores in years. They’re part mint, part licorice and always sold in little foil pouches. I remember them being super strong when I was a kid.
I was very surprised to see that they’re still being made. You can find them at www.oldtimecandy.com, where you also may be happy to find Chuckles (the chewy gumdrop squares) and Slap Stix (the caramel swirl sucker), along with plenty of other nostalgic candies.
• Quisp Cereal
If you were watching any Saturday morning cartoons in the 1960s, you will recall advertisements for a pair of Quaker cereals called Quisp and Quake.
Quake was a miner, while Quisp was an alien. The cereals were identical except for their shape, and their advertising campaigns featured a rivalry between the two. The aliens won that battle. Quake was discontinued in 1973 after eight years on the market. Quisp is still made today and still sold in some major grocery stores.
Children of the same era also may be surprised to know that Quaker’s King Vitaman cereal is still being made.
If you’re wondering if a product that you enjoyed is still being made, there are plenty of places to check.
You can start at Lehman’s in Kidron, or its website, www.lehmans.com, where you’ll find a wide assortment of all things from the past, including Grape Nehi and Dad’s Root Beer, still sold by the case in glass bottles, as well as Smith Brothers Throat Drops in cherry and black licorice flavors.
Sometimes we may think a product is gone because the grocery store we frequent no longer carries it. That’s not always the case. Sometimes older brands go into limited distribution, which means you may be able to find them only in certain parts of the country. They can still be ordered.
Products are in a constant battle for shelf space. As stores move to stock new products they think customers want, like larger gluten-free sections, as well as more of their own store brands, shelf space is at a premium and something has to go. Sometimes what goes is your favorite item.
Kroger grocery stores offer a website, https://kroger.elsstore.com where customers can go to buy hard-to-find or specialty items. Your favorite lost product may be nothing more than a click away.